Friday, May 3, 2013

Trader Joe's Reserve Zinfandel Review Standoff: *** North Coast versus **** Dry Creek Valley

Check out today's pricing and retail availability for bargain North Coast Zinfandel or bargain Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel.

By way of background, opening thoughts: Trader Joe's offers a higher-end (for Trader Joe's) reserve series and today we will sample two separate zinfandels from that series, one from North Coast, the other from Dry Creek Valley.  By general reputation, Dry Creek Valley would be seen as the higher-end of the two offerings, although the price points are the same, both in the bargain category.

Original tasting and review : This is Trader Joe's Reserve Zinfandel, North Coast, California, 2011, finished at 14.2% alcohol.

In the glass: Light to medium magenta.

On the nose: Poured at room temperature and swirled vigorously, shows juicy plum and blackberry with just hints of dark oak.   From the aroma, seems like this will be tart yet fruity.

On the palate: The primary elements on the palate are in fact a bit more distinctive and "roasty" than anticipated, pairing a solid mid-palate of structured ripe blackberry fruit with a lengthy yet clean finish that hints of roasted chestnuts.

In summary: Overall, rates three stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale, its yummy structure helps garner an easy best value status.

Original tasting and review : This is Trader Joe's Reserve Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley, Lot 71, California, 2011, finished at 14.5% alcohol.

In the glass: Medium dusty red.

On the nose: Poured at room temperature and swirled vigorously, shows shy, sweet, cinnamon-laced fruit.  From the aroma, seems like this will be sweet and spicy/rich.

On the palate: The primary elements on the palate are in fact sweet and spicy/rich, but even spicier and richer than anticipated.  The spices warm and brighten an underlying cherry and black cherry fruit, making for a balanced, lush experience.

In summary: Overall, just touches four stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale, making this a crazy best value.

Bottom line:  Dry Creek Valley trumps North Coast for this line of zinfandels.

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